In 2005 I attempted to walk to the very end of the mainland South American continent. The most Southern Point of mainland South America is known as ‘Cabo Froward
‘ and access involves a challenging 5 – 6 day walk along an unmarked trail following the rugged Patagonian coastline. The trek must be carried out completely independently (no hostels or stores along the way!) so we carried everything we needed. With numerous river crossings, horrific weather, no communications with the outside world, a walk to Cabo Froward is an enticing challenge. Things did go wrong for us. It rained so hard the rivers which were normally knee high, came up to my neck. We aborted our mission on day two and only just managed to get back out again to the road head. It was the scariest river crossings I have ever done, the final river we crossed on the way out was high in flood, the waters ran swift and we were forced to cross close to the river mouth which was flowing directly into the sea. We had to dodge huge trees and logs which were being swept down the river by the flood waters and I was sure we were going to get swept out to sea.
While reflecting on this trip recently, I become curious as to where the Southern most tip of the mainland Asian continent happened to be. It turns out it is only about 50km from my apartment! It is known as Tanjung Piai
, and is located at the very southwest tip of Peninsula Malaysia in the state of Johor. (Sentosa Island in Singapore also claims to be the Southern most tip of continental asia. However Singapore is an island and their interpretation of this is due to the fact that Singapore is connected to Malaysia by man-made bridges, which do not count when we are looking at the actual natural continental land mass) Together with my wife Stephanie, we set-off on the 12 – 13 October 2013 to make our way to the tip of the Asian continent. Our mode of travel was the ‘Divorce Machine’ (Our inflatable sea eagle fast track kayak).
We started at Puteri Harbour in the state of Johor. On the 1st day we paddled for 6 hours, 25km in total, down the south-west coast of Malaysia to the small resort of Tanjung Piai. We spent the night here in a basic but comfortable resort accommodation. The next day we rounded the very tip of Tanjung Piai, then headed north up the coast to the small fishing village of Kukup. A shorter day of 12.5km. Here we deflated the ‘divorce machine’ at the Kukup ferry terminal in front of a very curious crowd of onlookers, packed her into a taxi and headed back to Puteri harbour to collect our car. It was a fantastic journey, we paddled through intense sunshine, tropical downpours and choppy waves. We saw families of sea-otters, flying fish and forests of mangroves lining the seashores. We got sun burnt, ate the best roti prata and enjoyed two days of adventure in each others company in a beautiful part of the world. All for the total cost of S$60 each, some physical effort and some imaginative planning. That’s what microadventure
is all about! Enjoy the photo’s below.
Map of our route on day one with km markings.
Map of our route on day two with km markings.
Stephanie fueling up on Roti Canai in Gelang Patah before we start. This stuff is heavy and no need to eat for a few hours afterwards, perfect for kayaking!
We started the journey from Puteri Harbour. This friendly security guard allowed us to use the jetty.
The Divorce Machine felt right at home as we paddled her out past some other very expensive pleasure craft. Stephanie asked why all the other boats had motors except ours.
The entrance to Puteri Harbour
Heading south west – the second link bridge linking Singapore to Malaysia in the distance.
Underneath the second link bridge.
Stephanie celebrating the 1st 8km of the trip after crossing under the 2nd link.
Having a wee swig of 100-plus after we finish the first 8km leg to the 2nd link causeway.
It rained really hard for a short time which was beautiful as it cooled us down. Kayaking in the rain is actually a very pleasant experience in the tropics.
Passing a platform as we get closer to Tanjung Pelepas port
Tanjung Pelepas port in the distance – the wind picked up and the sea got choppy as we crossed here.
Stephanie relaxing at a small beach we found on Tanjung Pelepas port.
The last leg of the day, across to the lighthouse at Tanjung Piai, it seemed to take forever.
Finally arriving at the jetty at Tanjung Piai.
Tanjung Piai resort is situated 2km from the actual tip of the continent.
Stephanie outside the front entrance – ‘Selamat Datang’ means ‘Welcome’ in Malay.
The jetty we landed on at Tanjung Piai. This is the view from our room.
A view of our room on the top right in the building in this photo. Taken from the jetty.
All I need to keep me happy at the end of a hard day, a nice bed, a good book and a bag of chips.
I went for a walk in the morning around Tanjung Piai and found this small river.
The view as the sun rises from Tanjung Piai resort down towards the very tip of the Asian continent – still 2km away.
Beautiful sunrise from our room.
Launching the Divorce Machine from the jetty was a small challenge as the tide was so low. Luckily, she is lightweight.
Setting up the SPOT GPS tracker on the front of the Divorce Machine at the start of Day 2.
Passing the very tip of mainland Asia. The cape of Tanjung Piai.
A close-up of the sign marking this point.
Paddling up the west coast of Malaysia towards Kukup fishing village. The water was so shallow even though we were 200m offshore. I decided to jump out and sunk up to my knee’s in very soft mud.
Paddling towards Kukup village we passed many fisherman.
Coming into the ferry terminal at Kukup village.
Coming into Kukup ferry terminal we had a crowd of curious onlookers.
The end! Getting ready to disembark at Kukup ferry terminal.
I love this sign as we drove back into Singapore! ‘Welcome to Singapore’ on one side. ‘Death to Drug Traffickers’ on the other!
This blog is listed under a section on my website called ‘Microadventure’. Microadventures are cheap simple adventures close to home. A chap named Alistair Humphreys coined the phrase ‘microadventure’, you can read about him here. I will continue to add more microadventures to my website to give people idea’s and inspiration to go on your own adventures. If you do go on your own, I would love to hear about them and do drop me a line!